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Everyone in the council can quickly obtain the information they need to do their jobs, which is particularly important in emergency situations.

Meeting the needs of a community

After using Esri’s ArcGIS platform to create a single repository for all of its spatial data, Lichfield District Council used Esri UK’s LocalView solution to make specific datasets easily accessible to teams via tailored portals on the council’s intranet. Employees can now more easily find precisely the information that they need to do their jobs and have complete confidence in the data’s accuracy


Case study – Local Government


The Customer

Lichfield District Council is responsible for a population of around 97,000 people, 40% of whom live in rural areas. The district is over 331 km2 in size and sits within the county of Staffordshire in the West Midlands.

Everyone in the council can access the same, single source of up-to-date data, without worrying about different versions

Employees can quickly obtain the information they need to do their jobs, which is particularly important in emergency situations such as flooding

Information can easily be shared with partners in a controlled manner that restricts access to confidential data

The Challenge

Lichfield District Council had been using Esri GIS applications for many years. However, the lack of a central store of GIS data was becoming problematic. Council employees found it difficult to access data from other departments, with duplicate versions of the same datasets leading to inaccuracies and the potential for poor decision making.

When Gareth Thomas joined the council as the Corporate GIS Manager, he identified two priority goals; to create a single repository for all of the council’s spatial data, and to make it easier for people to access and use this data.

“ The potential of the solution quickly became very clear. People reacted very positively when they saw how easy it would be to access and view the data that they needed

Gareth Thomas – Corporate GIS Manager, Lichfield District Council

The Solution

Lichfield District Council selected Esri’s ArcSDE solution to provide it with the means to centrally store, update and manage its spatial data together with LocalView Intranet developed by Esri UK. LocalView Intranet is a browser-based application designed specifically for local authorities. It enables individuals and teams across departments to access a council’s central repository of spatially related information and maps, quickly and effortlessly.

Firstly Lichfield District Council implemented ArcSDE centralising the council’s disparate data resources and then it prepared a demonstration version of LocalView Intranet. “The potential of the solution quickly became very clear,” says Thomas. “People reacted very positively when they saw how easy it would be to access and view the data that they needed.”

LocalView Intranet was initially rolled out to a small number of users. The IT team customised the front end, loaded relevant spatial data and adapted the look and tasks available. “I have to admit it didn’t take us long,” recalls Thomas. “The reaction was very positive, and demand just snowballed from that point onwards.”

Now, the council has over six LocalView portals, each one customised to provide the data and tasks needed by departments or groups of users, as well as a corporate portal, with general data. Employees can access the solution from any computer in the office, on the road or at home.

Thomas explains: “We can tailor what users can do, as well as what users can see. We don’t have to clutter up the screen with lots of other things that they don’t need. At the same time we manage all the data files centrally, so the information is always the most accurate.”

“ We are now able to embed the use of spatial data into all aspects of our work, including emergency planning. The value that LocalView adds was clearly apparent in the aftermath of the floods

Gareth Thomas – Corporate GIS Manager, Lichfield District Council

The Benefits

All employees now access the same, single source of up-to-date information and use spatial data more extensively to support their day-to-day tasks. LocalView portals are developed quickly allowing the IT team to respond to short-term requirements, multi agency projects and emergency situations, using the skills they have in house.

The real benefits of LocalView were highlighted in 2007 when large areas within the council’s responsibility were affected by flooding. Data on the extent of the flooding was loaded into LocalView, providing everyone in the council with a clear view of the areas worst affected. This information was then used to plan the response effort. “LocalView has been a real success here,” says Thomas. “We are now able to embed the use of spatial data into all aspects of our work, including emergency planning. The value that LocalView adds was clearly apparent in the aftermath of the floods.”

Lichfield District Council also uses LocalView to provide external partners with access to its data, including Parish Councils and the Valuation Office. “Because this is an Intranetbased solution, we have greater control over access to the data,” explains Thomas. “We can limit the number of datasets our partners see and set up different portals, so that partners see only the data relevant for them. We can also restrict access to confidential data.”

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